It seems like quite the controversial topic within workplace fashion experts! I believe it is very subjective though. It depends on a number of factors such as your personal preference, your particular workplace environment and dress code, and the weather in your area.
I work with one woman who almost always wears black opaque hosiery to cover visible tattoos on the tops of her feet. My boss almost never wears hose, regardless of season or the day’s agenda. I’m sure that some of my coworkers prefer to wear them for the slimming effects. I tend to wear slacks most days so I choose either knee-high hosiery or nothing.
Personally, I do not think that patterned tights such as fishnets or lace or polka dots are professional-looking regardless of the rest of the outfit, but I do think that adding colored tights for a monochromatic look can be quite sharp.
If you do choose to wear hose with your work outfits, the most professional looks are usually black or nude, depending on the shoes and the rest of your outfit. I think black hose would look odd in combination with nude heels, but style is a very personal matter!
A couple of quick hard-and-fast don’ts:
- Avoid white tights in almost any situation.
- Choose your hose smartly if you plan to wear any kind of open toed shoes or sandals. They actually do make some that are designed with open toes for just such an occasion!
- Do your best to avoid wearing hosiery that has snags or holes in them. That is hardly professional in any situation.
Ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules, so play it by wear and by comfort.